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323 - Lectures 1-3: Intro to IR Theory

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Shannon Gibson

on 6 September 2016

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Transcript of 323 - Lectures 1-3: Intro to IR Theory

International Relations
and the Environment

Shannon Gibson, Ph.D.
a distinct academic paradigm
the study of state and non-state actors
closely related to Political Science and Global Studies
What is International Relations?
What are the political/economic causes of environmental change?
What accounts for the rise in public concern and increasing importance of environmental issues on the global agenda?
What constitutes global environmental governance? What explains its emergence, evolution?
Is global environmental governance effective? How well can nations cooperate to address shared environmental problems?
What questions would IR ask about environmental issues/
Realism
Assertions
Conflict can be avoided
Prospects for cooperation and harmony of interests
Liberalism
interdisciplinary
has a long history
has an evolutionary history
OMG. THEORY? Whatevs.
Theoretical Objectives
Explaining (how the macro world is)
Understanding (how micro world works)
Predictive (what will happen)
Normative (how the world ought to be)
"Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play."
Immanuel Kant

Assertions
States always act in their own self-interest
The state of anarchy predicts prevalence of conflict
Anarchy
Self-help
States
Key Terms / Assumptions
Relative gains
Power
Realistic
Anarchy
Complex
interdependence

International
Institutions
Absolute gains
States
Cooperation
Mitigated
Harmony of interests
=
Constructivism
IR had long ignored issues of environmental sustainability....and in some cases, still does today.
"reality"
ideas
norms
collective beliefs
non-state actors
Assertions:
Political realities are constructed through social interactions
Ideas, more than interests or institutions, guide state behavior
Marxism / Neo-Marxism
Capitalism
Mode of Production
hierarchy
Class
Exploitation
Dependency
Assertions:
The economy, not anarchy, predicts state behavior
The world is based on inequality and class struggle
Socialist approaches & redistritubion of wealth and power are preferable
Critical "Green" Theory
Case Study: Eco-Feminism
result of
ecological blindness
of International Relations
aims to
critically challenge
notions assumed as value-neutral by other perspectives (i.e., state, anarchy, capitalism)
argues that these concepts actually do harm (structural violence)
speaks for those with no voice
"speak truth to power"
First Wave
domestic counter culture movements
anti-capitalist & communist
anti-industrial/military complex
anti-anthropocentrism
Second Wave
transnational turn
sees fault in global institutions
scale shift around states to target WTO, IMF, WB, UNFCCC, etc.
linking Feminism & Ecology
women and nature united by their shared oppression
both are simultaneously repressed and exploited by oppressive structures
Goal is to point out inequalities, describe how they came to be, and fix them
So what can IR maybe tell us about Global Environmental Politics?
Realism
explains the MANY conflicts
Liberalism
explains increasing cooperation and institutionalization
Constructivism
explains the normative shifts and change
Marxism
and
GCT
explain inequalities and growing dissent
Full transcript